FAQs for Travelers Who Are First Time to Visit Tibet

Potala Palace

A distance view of Potala Palace

Here we have collected Top 30 tips for first-time foreign travelers, aiming to make your Tibet tour more pleasant. In this post, you’ll find practical answers to Tibet travel faqs, including Tibet Travel Permit, altitude sickness, best time to Tibet, how to get to Tibet, Tibet weather, Tibetan monasteries,etc.

1. Are there any restrictions on foreign tourists to visit Tibet?

There are some special requirements for foreign travelers to Tibet. First, you must be part of an organized tour by travel agencies, with confirmed routes. Second, Tibet Travel Permit issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB Permit) is indispensable. It must be obtained before you head to Tibet. Third, you are not allowed to travel alone in Tibet, even with the travel permit. That’s to say, you must be accompanied by a licensed tour guide.

2. Which areas in Tibet need Aliens’ Travel Permit?

Since many places in Tibet are in the border areas or haven’t been entirely open to foreign tourists, you must apply for Aliens’ Travel Permit (PSB Permit) if planning to enter the following “closed” areas.
Tsetang: Samye Monastery, Tomb of Tibetan King, Changdruk Temple, Yumbulakhang
Shigatse: Sakya Monastery, Mt. Everest, Rongbuk Monastery
Gyangtse: Pelkor Chode Monastery & Kubum Stupa
All tourist destinations in Ngari Region
Basumtso Lake in Nyingchi Region
All tourist destinations in Chamdo Region

3. Is it necessary to work out before going to Tibet?

Acute mountain sickness is always the top concern for Tibet visitors and many people thought that some exercise must be helpful. However, altitude sickness is not bound with physical strength but the adaptability of your body. We suggest you to do some jogging and aerobic exercise one or two months ahead and have a good rest one week before departure.

4. Who is not suitable for going to Tibet?

Generally speaking, it’s fine for most people to travel Tibet except the one with severe disease as follows:
1. People have heart disease, blood disease and cerebrovascular disease
2. People have all kinds of respiratory disease
3. People have epilepsy, schizophrenia and diabetes
4. People have severe cold, fever and respiratory infections
5. People have suffered from altitude diseases, such as high altitude pulmonary edema, high altitude cerebral edema, brain edema plateau edema, high altitude heart disease, etc.

5. How about altitude sickness symptoms?

Altitude sickness varies from person to person. Most tourists to Tibet are likely to have mild symptoms such as headache, tinnitus, asthma, sleeplessness and so on. It would disappear in the first two days. Chances are that it gets worse to vomit, nausea, diarrhea, ect. If severe symptoms happen, you are strongly advised to go to hospital and get immediate medical treatment.

6. How to prevent altitude sickness?

As long as going to the pharmacy, you will get lots of altitude sickness medication. Rhodiola must be the most familiar one. Whether as capsules, oral liquids or infusion, it does help to avoid altitude sickness. Please keep in mind that those medicines should be taken ten days in advance.

7. How to alleviate altitude sickness?

Sometimes, even if the preventive medicine was taken ahead, altitude sickness would still inevitably happen to you. Here we give out several ways to ease your pain. American ginseng, inosine tablets, and inosine oral solution are good for relieving your symptoms.
If having a headache, you can take Bufferin painkillers and glucose. It’s advisable to calm down and reduce unnecessary movement. And never push yourself to do the things you are not comfortable with.

8. Why not go to Tibet with cold?

When people have a cold, inflammation often occurs in lungs and tracheas, making our immune system weaker. Under the plateau environment with less oxygen and drier air, the common cold would easily turn into pneumonia, pulmonary edema, or bronchitis. That is the last thing we want to see. Thus, if caught cold, cure it first and then go to Tibet.

9. When is the best time to visit Tibet?

May to October is widely regarded as the best time to travel Tibet. It’s warm, cozy and many places of interest are accessible. But it’s also the Tibetan peak tourism season and flocks of tourists at home and abroad would pour into Tibet, making the prices of hotels, air tickets and tour services much higher than usual. Besides, Tibet winter is not that cold as you imagine. During November to next April, you still can enjoy the most sunny days. With tourists fading away, it’s time to explore authentic Tibetan culture.

10. What’s the weather like in Tibet summer? What should i pack?

Compared with other tourist cities in mainland China, Tibet has a much cooler summer. The daytime temperature is around 25 but it would drop to 10 at night. T-shirts, long sleeves, trousers and jackets are enough. Besides, Tibet rainy season lasts from July to August. It’s often sunny in the day and rains at night. A pair of water-proof shoes and other rain gears are still needed.

11. Is there anything interesting in Tibet winter?

In winter, most people prefer to hang out in the Lhasa city and enjoy warm sunshine in front of Potala Palace Square. With less tourists traveling around, you can catch the chance to explore authentic Tibetan religious life, like observing pilgrims prostrating in front of Jokhang Temple, joining the Barkhor kora, etc.If weather is good enough, you still can go to Lake Namtso and trek EBC. Having a hot spring at Yangbajing is something you shouldn’t miss.

12. Can i go to mount Everest and Namtso Lake in winter?

Usually, you could go to those places if the road wasn’t closed down. But you’d better not spend nights there for it’s too cold and many hotels nearby would be shut up.

13. How can i get to Tibet?

You can get to Tibet by flight, train and overland driving. Taking flight to Tibet is the most convenient way but you would run a higher risk of altitude sickness. Tibet train offers you the most breathtaking scenery along Qinghai-Tibet railway. And you can take time to adapt to the rising altitude en route. Driving to Tibet is the most flexible way. You can stop to take photos, enjoy the beauties as you like. If time allows, you can try to overland to Tibet from Nepal, Xinjiang, Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan.

14. Where can i take direct flight to Tibet?

You can take direct flights to Tibet from Kathmandu, Beijing, Shanghai,Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Kunming, Lanzhou, Xi’an, Xining and Diqing. See more at Flights to Tibet.

15. How many airports are there in Tibet?

There are four airports in Tibet, namely Lhasa Gongga Airport, Nyingchi Milin Airport, Chamdu Bangda Airport and Ngari Kunsa Airpot.

16. How to get to Lhasa from Gonggar Airpot?

Lhasa Gonggar Airport is about 100 km away from the downtown. You can take airport shuttle bus to Lhasa city for one and a half hours. The ticket price is 25 yuan per person. Tibettravel also provides pick-up service for you.

17. Where can i take direct train to Tibet?

You can catch direct Tibet train from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lanzhou and Xining. Trains from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou depart every day. The rest run ever other day. See more at Tibet train.

18. Is it easy to obtain Tibet train tickets?

It’s hard to get tickets to Lhasa all year round, especially during the peak season (May to October). You are highly recommended to contact us for early booking.

19. How to get to the downtown from Lhasa Railway Station?

You can get to downtown area by taxi and we also offer pickup service for you.

20. How to get to Nepal from Tibet?

Taking flight to Kathmandu from Lhasa is the fastest way. Meanwhile, you can also drive overland from Lhasa to Kathmandu via Gyirong Port. However, there is still no train to Kathmandu from Lhasa.

21. Beside Tibetan food, what else can i try?

If you don’t get used to tsampa and yak-butter tea, you can still try some Sichuan cuisine, Muslim noodles, Nepalese dishes, Indian foods and other western-style meals. Fast food like KFC and Dicos can be also found here.

22. How about Tibetan snacks?

You are strongly suggested to try some local Tibet snacks, such as momos, sweet tea, butter tea, yak yogurt, yogurt ice cream, bean jelly, cold-noodles,Tibetan-style noodles as well as chips.

23. How about Tibetan tea? Is it tasty?

Sweet tea and yak-butter tea are the staple food for the locals. Sweet tea is very popular among tourists. But butter tea is not so acceptable. It’s said that butter tea can ease altitude sickness to some extent. For this reason, having a cup of butter tea is pretty good.

24. Where can i have Nepali dishes?

In Lhasa, many restaurants offer awesome Nepalese food, such as Xueyu restaurant, Lhasa kitchen, Lhasa Namaste Resaurant, Xin Man Zhai, Songtsen Restaurant, etc.

25. Where is Maji Ami? How about the food and price?

Maji Ami sits at Barkhor Street with striking yellows. It’s well-known among tourists for its nice atmosphere, authentic Tibetan food, reasonable price and romantic history. It should be on your itinerary.

26. How about night life in Tibet?

Bars in Lhasa mostly gather around Beijing Road and Jokhang Monastery. The pub atmosphere is really cool. Some singers would be invited. The performance won’t be long, usually for half an hour. Of course, you can go on stage and show your talent!

27. If i just have a short vocation, how can i arrange my Tibet tour?

If time is limited, we suggest you joining our 4 days Lhasa impression small group tour to visit some classic Tibet attractions. If you’re curious about Tibetan Buddhism, Tibet monastery tour will be a perfect option. See more at Tibet tour.

28. Can i take photos of Potala Palace and other Tibetan monasteries?

Generally speaking, it’s ok to take photos outside. But as for the inside, cameras are often forbidden. If you really want to do that, consult the staff beforehand!

29. Any tips for Tibetan Buddhism?

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. So is Tibet. Please respect Tibetan Buddhism and don’t point to Buddha and monks. When visiting Tibetan Buddhism monasteries, you’d better take off hats and do the kora in clockwise direction. If pairs of shoes have been put outside the hall, you are also advised to take off your shoes before entering. Please remember not to touch the figure of Buddha, Buddhism scriptures, the bell and drum, etc. Smoking, shouting, yelling are also prohibited in the monastery.

30. Where is the sky burial site? May i watch celestial funeral ceremony?

One of the most famous celestial burial platform is in Drigung Til Monastery, Lhasa. But the answer is NO. It has already ruled that only relatives of the death have the right to attend the burial ceremony and all the photography as well as videos are forbidden.

Traveling Tibet must be an incredible journey in your life. Hope this article can help you make a better plan to visit Tibet.There are a few other faqs that are not included here. Just feel free to contact us for more information.

So if you’re ready to an Adventure Tour to Tibet

1.) enjoy the mind-blowing Himalayas

2.) trek to the foot of Mt. Everest, the world’s summit

3.) explore mysterious Tibetan Buddhism

4.) appreciate the beauty of holy Tibetan lakes

5.) experience divine kora around holy Mt. Kailash

6.) witness exotic Tibetan culture

7.) taste Tibetan, Nepali, Indian cuisine

8.) look for a paradise of photography

9.) have safari on the roof of the world

Then Let’s Get Started with Our Local Tour Experts

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